Since starting this blog I have been feeling pretty good about my debt. Well, not the debt itself, but getting rid of it.
This week I have had someone say to me “I just don’t understand how you can be in so much debt”, someone else said I need to cut up my credit cards, let me just reiterate – I don’t have a credit card. I’ve had people read my blog and say “how?” No other words, just how. I bet many of you are wondering that too so here goes.
I was young, stupid and a fulltime student with useless boyfriend at the time. I moved an hour away from town to live with him. I already had a few debts, a car loan, a bank overdraft etc but then I had to pay the set up costs for a house. His work was seasonal so in the off-season I was paying all of the rent, food, power and other bills on my own with the promise that he would return the favour once his work started back up, but that wasn’t the case. Instead his money went on alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and gambling. Top bloke right? A student allowance only goes so far and living an hour away from my course and work, I soon became reliant on my Farmers Card to pay for groceries and petrol. The more I spent on it, the more the increased my limit and before I knew it, my card had a limit of $3,000. Whilst I didn’t ask for the increase, I certainly wasn’t complaining as a poor student. Given the top bloke that was my boyfriend, it was inevitable that relationship was going to hit some speed bumps, bumps that resulted in me moving back to town and footing the bill for another lot of move in costs. Then I decided to try and help my brother so I drove from Invercargill to Hamilton to pick him up. I spent two weeks (and a fair amount of money) in Hamilton before heading back to Invercargill. On the way, my car broke down. We had to spend two nights in Christchurch at a hotel we hadn’t budgeted for then carried on home with an $800 bill for my car. My boyfriend at the time was paying for his own food and ferry ticket, but then I had to foot my brother’s bill. At the time, I didn’t mind because I wanted to help him and it was my idea in the first place.
Before I picked up my brother I decided to buy a new bed. I had been sleeping on an old second hand one I bought for a box of beer when I first moved here and I figured since my brother would need a bed, he could have that one and I’d just buy a new one. Another debt.
Over the next couple of years, the relationship turned sour, that along with some dodgy flatmates, dodgy houses and a psycho ex turning up on my doorstep at 4am most weekends, resulted in me moving house four more times. Twice I sold all of my belongings and moved into flats with other people because it was cheaper, then I’d end up moving out to live on my own and I had to buy all new furniture, kitchen equipment, everything. (Usually second hand stuff, but even that mounts up). So often I would tick up things for the house or cell phones in my name for either him or “us”, always accompanied by the promise that he would pay for them. He never did. Now I know my ex wasn’t the only one at fault here, not all of the debt is from him and I’m the first to admit that I was stupid to get myself into this position. I’ve learnt so many lessons about money, trust and relationships the hard way, and there is no point dwelling on the past, what I did vs. what I should of done, asking why I put up with the ex for so long, why I put things in my name.
I was stupid. I get it.
This is me admitting my mistakes. Hoping others can learn something so they don’t make the same mistakes themselves, hoping to keep myself committed to getting out of debt with your support, hoping to find new ways to reduce spending and pay off debt faster, hoping to reach my goal so I can have a better life. I expected to be judged, criticized and critiqued but some comments of late have left me wondering whether I should stop writing this blog and keep my personal life just that, personal.